National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest
01/24/18 4:00 PM CST
Grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 to USA nonprofit organizations, government agencies, IHEs, school districts, and libraries to participate in a nationwide youth literacy program. Please note that the applicant must be a library or partner with a library. Communities may select books included on the program roster.
An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. Showcasing a diverse range of contemporary books that reflect many different voices and perspectives, the NEA Big Read aims to inspire conversation and discovery.
NEA Big Read annually supports community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Organizations selected to participate in NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.
NEA Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide reading programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community’s chosen book. Activities focus on one book from the NEA Big Read library.
These grants are federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and may be used for such expenses as book purchases, speaker fees and travel, salaries, promotion, and venue rental.
Each application will be evaluated based on the following review criteria:
1. Quality of diverse and creative literary programming that: shows a clear connection between the NEA Big Read book and the target audience(s); meets the programming requirements; and engages a wide range of community members with the writing, content, and themes of the selected book.
2. Relevance and depth of involvement with community partner organizations that will broaden community participation beyond the applicant's primary constituent base and enrich programming. Examples of such partners are arts organizations, bookstores, community centers, community colleges, community service organizations, correctional institutions, libraries, local businesses, middle and high schools, military installations, museums, senior centers, social service organizations, universities, and youth groups.
3. Comprehensive promotion of the NEA Big Read through digital and print channels as well as other public relations/marketing efforts; distribution of digital guides and promotional materials; and publicity through partnerships with local radio, print, TV, and media outlets as applicable.
4. Capacity to manage and implement the proposed NEA Big Read programming including organizational capacity, the provision of appropriate personnel, reasonable budget plan, and evidence of the required 1 to 1 cost share/match.
Applicants must choose one of the 30 reading selections from the Books webpage. Applicants that have received an NEA Big Read grant in the past must choose a different reading selection from their previous award.
Books available for 2018-19 are:
-In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
-Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
-Five Skies by Ron Carlson
-Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
-Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat
-The Round House by Louise Erdrich
-A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines
-How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems 1975-2002 by Joy Harjo
-To Live by Yu Hua
-Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
-The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
-A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
-Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
-Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
-The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka
-The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears by Dinaw Mengestu
-Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
-The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
-When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
-True Grit by Charles Portis
-Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
-Burning Bright by Ron Rash
-In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
-A Small Story About the Sky by Alberto Ríos
-Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
-Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
-This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
-The Latehomecomer by Kao Kalia Yang
-Book of Hours by Kevin Young
-Ways of Going Home by Alejandro Zambra
Copies of the reading selection are not provided. Applicants should articulate in their proposal a plan to acquire and distribute copies of their chosen book.
Digital Resources and Promotional Materials:
One of the benefits of the NEA Big Read is the availability of digital resources and promotional materials for each reading selection.
The digital resources are available for download for grantees to share with their communities. Reader Resources with information on the featured book and author are available for all reading selections, with some translated in to Spanish. Teacher's Guides and media resources like podcasts, audio guides, and films are available for some reading selections.
Grantees also receive free promotional items including three full-color NEA Big Read banners and a set of bookmarks to promote their activities.
Successful NEA Big Read programming should encourage reading and discussion of the selected book on a community-wide scale.
Your NEA Big Read must include the following:
1. Diverse and imaginative events and literary activities held at a variety of locations
a. A kick-off event to launch the program.
b. A minimum of 10 discussions on the selected book.
c. At least one keynote session on the selected book and its themes, either with the author or another appropriate speaker. If you are considering an author visit as part of your programming, please be aware that honoraria and availability vary by individual. Other considerations for a keynote could include a panel discussion or a presentation by someone associated with the book or author.
d. A minimum of two special events involving other forms of artistic programming designed to engage participants with the selected book (e.g., art exhibits/contests, films, musical performances, theatrical readings, and creative writing activities related to the themes of the book, etc).
e. Note: Event types may be combined (e.g., a kick-off event can include a keynote session and a discussion of the book or poet).
2. Community partnerships
-Applicant organizations must partner with a library (if the applicant itself is not a library). University and college applicants must partner with a library that is not directly affiliated with their educational institution.
-Applicants should partner with various community organizations to reach beyond their primary constituent base.
-Partnerships are encouraged with community organizations such as arts organizations, bookstores, community centers, community colleges, community service organizations, correctional institutions, libraries, local businesses, middle and high schools, military installations, museums, senior centers, social service organizations, universities, and youth groups.
3. Promotional efforts and partnerships
To ensure strong community participation in NEA Big Read activities by individuals of various ages, cultural backgrounds, educational levels, and occupations, organizations should actively promote their programming through digital and print channels as well as other public relations/marketing efforts. Organizations should also consider partnering with local radio, print, TV, and other media outlets as applicable.
GrantWatch ID#: 176614
Approximately 75 organizations in communities of varying sizes across the country will be selected to participate.
Eligible organizations may apply for a grant ranging from $5,000 to $15,000.
Programming dates are September 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Programs last approximately one month.
An applicant organization must:
1. Be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; a unit of state, local, or tribal government; or a tax-exempt public library located within the United States or its territories. Eligible applicants include organizations such as arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, colleges and universities, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments.
2. Partner with a library (if the applicant organization itself is not a library). University and college applicants must partner with a library that is not directly affiliated with their educational institution.
3. Choose one of the 30 available reading selections. Applicants that have received an NEA Big Read grant in the past must choose a different reading selection from their previous award.
4. Have a DUNS (Dun and Bradstreet) number. Look up your DUNS number.
5. Have and maintain an “active” SAM registration (System for Award Management; sam.gov) until the application process is complete, and if selected, throughout the programming dates of the award. This may include renewing your registration annually or more frequently if there are changes in the information. SAM registration is free. Contact your local Procurement Technical Assistance Center for free specialized help with the sam.gov registration process.
6. Be able to comply with the federal policies and legal requirements, statutes, and regulations in the Assurance of Compliance.
Local education agencies, school districts, and state and regional education agencies are eligible. This program does not fund individual elementary or secondary schools—charter, private, or public—directly. Schools may participate as partners in projects for which another eligible organization applies. If a single school also is a local education agency, as is the case with some charter schools, the school may apply with documentation that supports its status as a local education agency.
An organization whose primary purpose is to channel resources (financial, human, or other) to an affiliated organization is not eligible to apply if the affiliated organization submits its own application. This prohibition applies even if each organization has its own 501(c)(3) status. For example, the “Friends of ABC Library” may not also apply if the ABC Library applies.
Funding is not available for:
-Overlapping project costs between federal awards, whether received directly from a federal agency or indirectly, such as through a state agency or other entity
-Programs restricted to any organization's membership; programs must be promoted and available to the general public
-Programs that are intended to be experienced solely online
-Payment for facilities, purchase of capital equipment, or non-project related administrative expenses
-Fellowships or cash prizes
-Entertainment costs, such as opening parties, receptions, or fundraisers
Grants are cost shared and must be matched on a 1 to 1 basis with nonfederal funds such as staff salaries and wages, private grants, in-kind contributions, and earned revenues.
Applications are due by Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 4:00 PM CST.
All applicants will be notified regarding application status by April 2018.
Guidelines and Application Instructions:
NEA Big Read library:
View this opportunity on Grants.gov:
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